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07/28/2006

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Brace

Awww give Path a break. He's just tryin to pimp up that played out avatar he chose and is now stuck with.... FOREVER.

Nice snap of Reubin, but wasn't he already "back" doing something or other? I forget.

Very interesting overall. But remind me not to make SL one of the stops on my next book tour *shudders*

Jerry Paffendorf

Ideally these discussions should happen in voice. Text chat for SL interviews, when there's no concern over anonymity, is a lot like pushing your Ferrari down the street. The problem is there's no easy button to press for that just yet.

People should be able to tune into the audio from wherever they are (inworld or out), IM questions to the speakers, even hop on the line like a radio call-in show, and the whole thing should be made available as a podcast for later listening.

Speaking as a looong time discussion events man in SL, these are the same event problems that existed 18 months ago. Terra Nova just posted on the Infinite Mind show coming to SL. I hope they muscle up some solutions. It would be a big win for all of SL as it is undoubtedly an awesome venue for bringing people together like this.

In fact it's so easy to get people to come into SL to talk (no travel for anyone!) you can see how virtual worlds will become the best places to have these kinds of meetings. When we get the above, these things will come into better focus and we'll move on to critiquing the content, not the format.

Prokofy Neva

Jerry, you don't do yourself, your organizations, your businesses, your causes, any favours by playing these problems down, or being upbeat about them. That is, maybe you're paid to be upbeat, but you have to be sensible, too, to be convincing.

IF THESE ARE THE SAME PROBLEMS YOU HAD 18 MONTHS AGO, WHY HAVEN'T YOU BEEN ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM??? I mean, could your Electric Sheep at least make a HUD or something?

I disagree that voice has to be the answer, although it's good if it develops at least to the level of Johnny Ming and Philip Linden at the townhalls. Voice inevitably accrues to the powerful in these 3-D virtual settings, to the voiced who not only have a voice but can command attention to their voices, and of course to the technorati who not only can afford all the voice stuff, but who can push all the voice buttons that already exists.

That leaves the rest of the people who had to log on from the public terminals with the Brent avatars having to push type.

So that's why I'm urging you to look at other ways to use type -- like groups, like surfing sims with p2p, like more non-real-time displays.

I don't think the solution can entirely lie in just making the thing like a 3-d radio you hop into. Just as soon as you make this 3-d radio stuff obstacle-free and frictionless, you'll have the problem of EVERYBODY feeling empowered to talk, the inability to moderate it, and then the instinctive desire of the elite to ban/mute/control, which they've displayed time and again in the walled garden of Second Life.

That doesn't bother me. But it will bother the white-suited SLiterati like Hamlet or Lindens like Pathfinder who like to "shape" and "moderate" these experiences and keep out the riff-raff -- in their interpretation. We *already* get that.

The content is still so much about the format, Jerry, that we still have to keep having this conversation.

Being a futurist doesn't mean you get to skip steps. You can't just airly dismiss these concerns with a "well, someone will make everything," like Philip Linden once said to me in exasperation. Because then the rest of us have to keep slogging through until those things are made.

Then our urgent need for other tools that really serve felt needs will simply walk around your robots, and YOU will be left behind on the acceleration curve, not us!

This is getting to the discussion about innovation and what forces it that I saw in part on Henrik Linden's blog and answered here;
http://slcreativity.org/blog/?p=16

To be honest, I'm quite dismayed by the Infinite Mind set-up so far. It looks like the usual SLexcess -- too many speakers, too little time, too little access. I could have more access to these same people going to my Borders bookstore on 2nd Avenue for their book or CD signings or whatever.

And...guess what...It's going to be the usual Finite Mind with Boliver Oddfellow IMing his friendship list and putting the 40 avs on the sim, then the hype of a soi-disant "public event" -- replete with Boliver snarking about how he wishes everyone would stop calling it a "BLOODY GAME".

A radio show like Infinite Mind reaches millions. But it has a barrier -- the fourth wall, the physicality of the world between you and the radio station, where your involvement has to be mediated through snail-mail, email, a phone call -- you could try to push through hundreds of callers to get in your concern, but you figure that somebody somewhere reads at least headers of email and is more or less in touch with audience feedback.

SL doesn't yet, and possibly due to lack of imagination rather than lack of software, have the ability to handle those same kind of millions.

SL in fact involves a far more elitist, pinhole approach, despite its claims to Internetdom. It is like a rarified, elite studio approach where only a very, very select and privileged audience gets to interact with the celebs. It's not even like going on the Oprah Show -- Oprah or Phil Donahue can fit more people in her audiences in RL, and she weaves through the rows, unexpectedly handing the microphone to people sometimes, etc.

There isn't this ghastly Podcast Secondcast formula, where instead of having one host and all new guests each week, you have this real tiresome and wilting line-up of Cristiano, Walker, Torrid, and Lordfly week after week, night after night, snarkily giggling and catcalling about a Second Life they never log into.

People will not be able to deluge the speakers with IMS, Jerry; have you ever been on a RL radio show? You can't stop and start reading email -- or imagine if there were chat messages appearing on flat panels in the air beside you. You have to concentrate on your interlocutor or the person interviewing you. Call-ins are filtered; these can also be very touch to field, and some stations pre-clear them.

Isn't SL supposed to enhance and augment, in your book? You're the one who says it isn't about immersion, no? And yet something like the Infinite Mind becomes the Finite Mind when it becomes an immersive little cachet elitist experience for 40 very special avs and their very special friends meeting celebs.

If you were to make Second Life de-clunk-ify and open up *to at least* the level of a radio station, where you could just normally call in a host on Skype, or just naturally IM/email a host or guest in non-sync time, then the question does arise: why have Second Life *at all*? Just to watch your avatar dancing?

Prokofy Neva

Awww give Path a break. He's just tryin to pimp up that played out avatar he chose and is now stuck with.... FOREVER.

You know, I wonder how Pathfinder is able to deal with all those educational people he has to deal with in that get-up. I found it interesting the first week weeks...amusing the second few weeks...annoying the next few weeks...now I find it pathological. Most people have a variety of avatars they wear. Seems to me Pathfinder needs to put that avatar on the shelf for Halloween. Who says he can't change his avatar?? My God, people change their outfits constantly in SL.

>Nice snap of Reubin, but wasn't he already "back" doing something or other? I forget.

Yes, Reuben has gone on to greater glory working the metaverse consulting circuit. He has landed some quite impressive accounts, i.e. Time-Warner records and Regina Spektor.

Jerry Paffendorf

> Jerry, you don't do yourself, your organizations, your businesses, your causes, any favours by playing these problems down, or being upbeat about them. That is, maybe you're paid to be upbeat, but you have to be sensible, too, to be convincing.

Sheesh, well how about my family and my country? :) I think I was pretty sensible saying there are long-running difficulties with doing these events in audio--audio being my preferred format, and, I think, the preferred format for most people. They won't be fixed until we've got VoIP inworld (Linden Lab controls the gate on this one). Right now the process involves pointing Skype or another VoIP product at a streaming server and plugging that URL into the land. Not impossible, we've done it a bunch of times, but definitey not turn-key (usually takes exasperating monkeying) and hence not common.

> If you were to make Second Life de-clunk-ify and open up *to at least* the level of a radio station, where you could just normally call in a host on Skype, or just naturally IM/email a host or guest in non-sync time, then the question does arise: why have Second Life *at all*? Just to watch your avatar dancing?

For me that one's easy. I get to see, befriend, and talk to other people with similar interests. Added to that you can plug in video, pics/slides, and music more easilly than I've seen anywhere else period. And you get to horse around, like at the Dibbell book-signing I was roller skating around the theater doing tricks and stuff, which is fun and just the tip of the iceberg. Have you seen This Spartan Life? They do interviews in Halo: http://thisspartanlife.com/episodes.shtml

Anyway, you know my thoughts on all this stuff. To your "Waiting for Gutenberg" watch, I'd add "Waiting for Graham Bell" ;)

Prokofy Neva

Jerry, every Friday night, Frogg Marlowe and Jaycatt Nino on the keys play live music in SL. They must have a shoutcast server or some other kind of thingie. They sing and talk into a microphone. They paste the URL in the land. We p2p to their land and hear them. It requires pressing "play" on one's music player.

It all seems pretty simple. It lags sometimes; it can get choppy; there are only the 39 avatars to fit, etc. But if you get there, get a seat, and press play, it works.

I am often baffled, then, why the things organized by Harvard, Future Salon, etc. do not work. Is it because they aren't using shoutcast? Is it because they are all different servers? Is it because they are not just having voice audible, but also trying to have us be able to talk back to them?

Having the performer speak and the rest hear isn't ideal; it's unsettling actually at times, but it's workable. It means that speaker/performer is freed to just talk and not type. We can listen. We can type a half line that he can see.

*Just that much* progress should be the norm. And it's not. For reasons that baffle me.

Why harp on VOIP and on LL? People have this perfectly working live music thing going all over, with no VOIP. Just shoutcast and paste-in to your land.

Well, sure, skating is fun. And yes, the data storage and display stuff is great in SL and underutilized.

I do think there are several problems with the Hamlet-run events.

One of them is the inability of the host to shut up, or to organize Q&A very well. This is such a chronic problem that it must be a policy.

For these events, it is vital to:

A. Announce the group, or the person to IM for a TP in connection with the event. It's wrong to just figure you'll fill the sim with 30 friends. If you announce it to the public, give the public a chance.

B. That group must be made, an open and hopefully not requiring an invitation. If it does, that person needs to get their ass in world 15-20 minutes ahead of time.

C. That person doing the TPS must be inworld 15-20 minutes ahead of time.

I think it's just more fair to have real fans of this or that author willing to camp 20 minutes being the ones to hear them, rather than some jaded and bored events host tp in their friends who just have nothing better to do on line at the moment.

Todd from Whizkidsecrets.com

I got a real kick out of this post. It reminded me of Alex Jones, radio talk show host, and how he starred in an animation film called Waking Life. Pretty good stuff. Thanks ;-)

Prokofy Neva

Um, is that spam?

Kinda depressing to read a post from 2006 and realize a) we still have all these problems with events and b) Julian Dibbell isn't as sweet and thoughtful as I thought back then, read my more recent posts.

Blaccard Burks

BTW, I love reading your blog. It's where I go to first to read on what's going on in SL.

Julian's book is really not a new book at all. I got it back in 2006. It was about basically trying to make money in the game Ultima Online. Funny how the 2007 reprint now sports a SecondLife Avatar on the cover.

The book's only merit that I found interesting was his research into virtual economies and the lifestyles of some of the people making money in Ultima Online. Its NOT a book about Second Life at all.

blaccard burks

how I ended up with this post from your front page 2 years later beats me.. sorry for the mistake

Van Sales

I visited this blog first time and found it very interesting and informative.. Keep up the good work thanks..

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